Since taking delivery of our twelve-month Volvo S60 T6 test car back in May, we’ve fiddled with every switch, button, and lever inside the thing, just to get as familiar with the car as possible. There’s been but one exception: because we’ve been driving the car in summer months, the heated seat buttons have gone ignored, other than us looking at them and asking “Why aren’t you cooled seat buttons?” While we could never convince them to switch sides, we have finally taken advantage of the button-activated warmth in the closing days of September and start of October, and they’re as good as we’ve come to expect from Volvo. However, we aren’t looking forward to telling friends who rode in our 2010 XC60 that the company decided not to offer heaters for the rear passengers. Calling “shotgun” is sure to be an important aspect of riding in the S60 this winter.
Before winter does arrive, we’ll be scheduling our first maintenance visit for our S60, which has been accumulating miles a bit slower lately but is still approaching 7000 miles. Each time we press the ignition button, we’re reminded to “book time for maintenance” soon, which we still need to do. Aside from the hassle of driving to the dealer, though, our 7500-mile service should be stress-free thanks to Volvo’s ongoing Safe and Secure program, which covers the cost of this oil change and inspection, plus any other service points we get to in our remaining months with the car. It should be a quick and easy job for the mechanic, too, because our S60 has remained fully trouble-free.
We’ve actually tried to get our solidly performing S60 to trip up. As you might remember from our previous updates, we had our car’s ECU reflashed with the same Polestar software that gives the 2012 S60 R-Design its standard 325 horsepower. When we did that, we were told to fill the fuel tank up with premium fuel only, a departure from what Volvo tells customers for other T6-equipped vehicles. On the S60 R-Design press launch, we inquired further and learned that even with the performance software, it’s still safe to run regular. It just may diminish performance.
Since then, we’ve been rotating between regular and premium fuel with each tank and while we didn’t have a chance to test 0-60 mph performance between the two, we can’t say we’ve noticed any ponies running away with 87 in the tank. We’ve watched our range-per-tank as well, and regardless of the octane, we’ve made it about 400 miles before the light comes on. Really, we’ve only noticed one big difference, and that’s in the engine note. The T6 just doesn’t sound as happy when it’s drinking the cheap stuff, emitting more of a moan than a roar at partial loads. For a difference of about $3.00 per tank, we just couldn’t listen to our engine friend suffer any longer and have returned to all premium, all the time. We shy away from beers with “Milwaukee” or “Light” in the name, so really, wouldn’t it be hypocritical to give the S60 regular?
Aside from our fuel experiment, the past month has been somewhat uneventful for the car, if still busy. Outside from daily use, it’s provided swift transportation to meet a newborn niece, worn its black-tie style to fine restaurants, and offered priceless leather-lined relief from the steel bleachers of college football games. It can do it all, this Volvo.
Unfortunately, we still can’t talk about modifications to our S60 because of a frustrating back-order on the tires we selected to wrap our Rotiform 19-inch wheels. That’s created a log-jam that’s kept us holding off on suspension changes as well, but hopefully we’ll get the situation resolved soon, even if there’s just a small window of time to go bigger with our wheels before it’s time to start thinking about winter tires. Stay with us; there’s still a lot of life with our S60 yet.